#PCGCares: Denver office supports special memorial event

On July 9th, the Denver Office’s Community Relations Committee (CRC) organized support for the annual reunion celebration for the families at Judi’s House. With its mission to provide “hope and healing for grieving children and their caregivers,” Judi’s House serves children and young adults, age three to 25, and their caregivers with specialized, age-adapted grief support programs. Last Saturday’s special event offered an opportunity for the families that have participated in programs at Judi’s House over the past 12 months to come together as a group to reconnect and celebrate the memory of the “special person” each family has lost. Several activity stations were available for the children to share their wishes to the “special person,” including memorializing and planting a memorial plant within the special “memorial garden.” [More]

CMS proposes changes in payment rules for outpatient care

On July 6, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes in Medicare payment methods under the hospital outpatient prospective payment system (hospital outpatient PPS) and the ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment system. The proposed Medicare rules would have a substantial impact in 2017 on “off campus” ambulatory facilities, incentive payments for adoption and “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs), and the hospital value-based purchasing (VBP) program. [More]

Legislation to address opioid use receives bipartisan support

Child welfare agencies have identified substance misuse and abuse as the leading reason for the significant increase in abuse and neglect reports, and the subsequent removal of children from their homes. Overdoses from heroin, prescription drugs, and opioid pain relievers in 2014 surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Injury-related deaths reached their highest levels of the 21st century in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Heroin overdoses have more than tripled in the last five years, an issue receiving outsize attention nationally but especially during the presidential campaign season as New Hampshire has been one of the hardest-hit states. [More]

USDA examines dual participants in SNAP

A July 12th, Governing article shares findings of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent report examining a new data-sharing system’s ability to identify Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants receiving benefits in more than one state. “Dual participants” cost the government millions in unintended costs and the data-sharing system, called the National Accuracy Clearinghouse, was successful in saving states money by identifying people who already get food stamps in another jurisdiction. [More]

CMS proposes revisions in Medicare fee schedules

On July 7, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed revisions in Medicare fee schedules for physicians and other medical practitioners (e.g., physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and therapists). The proposed revisions include changes that would be effective January 1, 2017 in order to improve care for patients with multiple chronic conditions, mental/behavioral health disorders, and cognitive or mobility-related disabilities. [More]

PCG Subject Matter Expert offers insights into ESSA in Language Magazine

A July 6 article published by Language Magazine examines funding, accountability and professional development under the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The author, Dr. Paula Love, a funding expert in the education industry shares insights – her own and those of K-12 industry leaders – into the impact ESSA will have on schools and districts, with attention given to opportunities for English Language Arts (ELA) and English Language Learner (ELL) educators. [More]

Ensuring educational stability for children in foster care

On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a joint document addressing the Early and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, which was reauthorized when Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015. The joint publication outlines ways that foster children will be better supported through collaboration with Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and State Education Agencies (SEAs). Such collaboration is important, as seen under the guidance of the Fostering Connections Act of 2008: there is evidence that when State and local level child welfare and education agencies work together, their collaborative efforts can impact the education of children in foster care. [More]

CMS expands authorized use of Medicare data

On July 1, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final rules which expand authorized uses of Medicare claims data in order to improve health care quality and to control costs. The new rules allow CMS-approved “qualified entities” (QEs) to purchase Medicare claims data from CMS, to combine Medicare data with data from other payers, and to use such combined data to prepare multi-payer data analyses that QEs can provide or sell to authorized users. [More]

Federal Court of Appeals Panel strikes down 2014 CMS rule outlawing stand-alone fixed indemnity insurance policies for ACA purposes

On July 1, 2016, a Three-Judge Panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a 2014 final rule of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that prevented individuals from having fixed indemnity insurance policies, which did not meet the “minimum essential insurance coverage” requirement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). [More]

EPIC Summer Camp featured in The Post and Courier

On July 4, 2016, an article in The Post and Courier highlighted a summer learning initiative at North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary school in South Carolina where, for the third year, students are participating in PCG’s EPIC™ Summer Camp program. This year, EPIC Summer Camp is serving more than 1,000 students at nine schools in Charleston County and during the seven-week program, students are encouraged to be creative while exercising their problem-solving skills. [More]